Shoulder Pain Pump Litigation: What’s Happening Now & Predictions For The Future

Shoulder pain pump litigation is heating up as more and more information is discovered about the links between pain pumps used in shoulder surgery and the painful condition known as PAGCL, or Postarthroscopic glenohumeral chondrolysis. We asked an attorney who’s following the litigation to tell us what’s happening now and to give us his predictions for the future.

California Attorney Jeff Milman

Jeff Milman, a California pain pump attorney whose practice focuses in the areas of personal injury and medical malpractice, provided us with the following information on what’s happening with pain pump litigation now and what he believes will happen down the road. Here’s what he told us:

What’s happening now?

  • Hundreds of lawsuits filed. Milman says that several hundred lawsuits have been filed against pain pump manufacturers. He explained, “There was an attempt to create a federal MDL [multi-district litigation], but that failed. At that time, there were not that many cases filed. There are cases not only filed in federal court across the country, but also in state court – and there may be an attempt later on to reintroduce an MDL. I know, for example, in Orange County California, there's half a dozen cases filed with local Superior Court.”
  • Lawsuits in discovery phase. Most of the lawsuits are currently in the discovery phase, according to Milman, which basically means that both sides are collecting information from the othler. He explained, “The [lawsuits] in federal court are going at a different speed than the state court cases. The state court cases are in the discovery phase right now. Some are a little farther along than others. What has happened is if you have a number of cases against the same parties, a particular judge may be assigned to be the coordinating judge.”

Predictions for the future

  • Initial trials will show what cases are worth. Milman told us that initial pain pump trials will set the stage for other cases. He said, “I think what’s going to happen is that you’ll see a few trials across the country that will flush out what juries think about the arguments on both sides – which will give everyone an idea of the amounts that these cases are worth. After that, there should be either a large group of cases that settle or are dismissed. I think it’s too early to determine everything, but there has to be a few bellwether cases.”
  • Recoverable damages. There are several types of damages might be recoverable to those who have contracted chondrolysis from a pain pump. Milman told us, “Well, you’re dealing with pain and suffering and ongoing lifelong medical care. Depending on the person's employment, you also may be dealing with either a short or long-term employment loss. Additionally, a spouse may have a claim for loss of consortium.”
  • Experts that may be used. In order to prove damages in these cases, a variety of experts might be needed. According to Milman, “You’re definitely going to need an orthopedic surgeon who is familiar with pain pumps and when they should and shouldn't be used. You will probably also need a medical products engineer who designs products like this. You may need a warnings expert to determine whether the warnings were proper and effective as well as a host of experts on the issue of damages. You’ll also need an economist, maybe a life care planner, maybe a doctor to set forth the future medical care needs and a surgeon. Additionally, a radiologist is needed to interpret MRI post operative findings.”